November 17, 2017

Dear Friends,

What do you wish for this holiday season? We wish for a world where ALL children can actualize their potential without fear of misdiagnosis, bullying, or isolation.

I have little doubt you wish the same, but did you know that 1.4 million children in the United States alone are at risk of misdiagnosis and mismedication due to a lack of understanding about the affect being gifted has on their health and development? Did you know there is absolutely no required training for medical and mental health professionals to learn about how to recognize and respond to the physiological and psycho-emotional differences that gifted children experience each day?

Gifted Research and Outreach (GRO) is working urgently to reverse the tide of “one size fits all” medical, mental health, and education policy. Our mission is to research the physiological and psychological effects of giftedness and to provide current and useful information to professionals and families.

Are misdiagnoses and mismedication really a problem? YES!

GRO has already gathered numerous peer reviewed studies which indicate gifted bodies experience differences in allergies, gastrointestinal sensitivities, auto-immune disease, brain anatomy, anxiety, and depression. The results of existing studies, alone, prove that further research is essential to understanding how these differences affect vulnerable children.

The path is clear:

  • Professionals cannot diagnose what they do not understand
  • If we do not conduct research, we cannot increase understanding
  • If we do not get funding, we cannot do research

GRO worked tirelessly in 2017 to complete the following:

  1. Launched an online searchable library with links to hundreds of articles about giftedness
  2. Developed and held an intensive one-day conference for mental health professionals
  3. Gave presentations on giftedness to pediatricians, mental health professionals, educators, and parents across the nation
  4. Reached over a million readers with written information
  5. Diligently continued the in-depth literature review of gifted physiology
  6. Added a distinguished panel of advisors consisting of leaders in giftedness from a wide variety of fields
  7. Initiated the exploration of original research opportunities based on the results of the literature review

With your help we can do even more in 2018 by:

  1. Pursuing original research project(s)
  2. Becoming a provider for professional continuing education units
  3. Producing continuing education unit courses
  4. Providing information via presentations, and the publication of scientific and journalistic articles

So what can you do?

Donate generously to GRO. Stretch as far as you can; all gifts matter and all enable us to help gifted children. May we suggest a donation GRO in the amount of $50, $100, $500, $1,000 or whatever your budget allows. Of course, it’s tax-deductible!

Ask your friends, family, and colleagues to give to GRO. They all care about you and your family; your direct appeal to them will encourage them to support a cause that matters to you. An easy option is to email the digital version of this letter (which you will receive if we have your email) with a personalized forwarding note.

Fundraise for GRO using your own social media networks. You never know who among your friends is also concerned with this issue. As they say, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” It’s easy to promote this via Facebook and LinkedIn as a special request; perhaps, in lieu of holiday gifts.

Our goal is to raise another $100,000 this holiday season. A daunting number for sure, but entirely achievable with your help. As a reminder, here’s why we do this:

We were told he had ADD, and social challenges.  While it did not ring true to what we saw at home, who were we to disagree with the professionals?  Eventually fate landed us in the office of a psychologist who understood giftedness, and though we were aware he was gifted, we did not know how that directly affected his behavior, emotional well-being and even his physical health! Instead of recommending medication and therapy, as others had before, we were told to academically accelerate him. Taking a terrifying leap of faith, we ended up skipping him four grades in school, and he magically transformed from a frustrated, bullied, sad little boy into a happy, thriving young man who enjoys a rich social life and is passionately pursuing a double major in college. We would have never guessed the solution to what others saw as problem behavior, was calculus instead of Ritalin! My heart breaks for the years of childhood he spent pathologized by well-meaning but ignorant professionals. Gifted children deserve the same attention and understanding as any other child with special needs! – Sharon Duncan, Parent

Thank you and happy holidays,

Marc, Sharon, Joanna, and Jessica,

GRO Board of Directors